Tennis star Naomi Osaka showed her support for Black Lives Matter at the U.S. Open through her outfits and masks.
On Saturday, Osaka posted a photo of herself wearing a BLM shirt walking downstairs onto the court. Following that, in two separate appearances, the grand-slam winner wore face masks that read the names of Breonna Taylor and Elijah McClain. McClain and Taylor were killed by police in separate instances.
Taylor was shot and killed while she was sleeping in her bed after police entered her home with a no-knock warrant; McClain was stopped by police for wearing a ski mask that he wore due to his anemia, he was injected with a "therapeutic" dose of ketamine and died from cardiac arrest. None of the police officers involved in either case have been arrested.
Osaka told USA Today that she brought seven masks with her and every one of them honors a victim of police violence. “It’s quite sad that seven masks isn’t enough for the amount of names, so hopefully I’ll get to the finals so you can see all of them,” she told them.
Last week, Osaka posted a note about not playing in her semi-finals match after several athletes in other sports, including the WNBA, decided to strike in support of Black Lives Matter. In her note, Osaka wrote, "Hello, as many of you are aware I was scheduled to play my semifinals match tomorrow. However, before I am an athlete, I am a black woman. And as a black woman, I feel as though there are much more important matters at hand that need immediate attention, rather than watching me play tennis."
She continued, "I don't expect anything drastic to happen with me not playing, but if I can get a conversation started in a majority white sport I consider that a step in the right direction. Watching the continued genocide of Black people at the hand of the police is honestly making me sick to my stomach. I'm exhausted of having a new hashtag pop up every few days and I'm extremely tired of having this same conversation over and over again. When will it ever be enough?"
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